Tales of a Fourth Grade Tween

Tales of a Fourth Grade Tween

I look at him, stomping around the house, being angry about whatever there is to be angry about today. Three minutes later, I watch him slip over to the sofa and sit as close to me as humanly possible without getting back in my womb. He nuzzles his head under my arm and I can feel him relax.

Things are changing.

Fourth grade is hard. Being almost ten is hard.

He’s not a teen, but he’s certainly not a baby anymore.

It’s a purgatory area, those tween years, of being immaturely mature and learning to move through life in a bigger way.

In the mornings, we fuss. He’d rather lay around and be lazy now than jump out of bed like he used to do. I can see the differences in the way he sleeps, the way he looks when he’s trying to wake up, and the way he almost needs coffee to get going in the morning.

Growing up isn’t easy.


His features are darkening. I can see the future in his eyes. The next few years will hold changes in his hormones and desires and voice… he won’t be my baby anymore. He’s already not my baby.

He and I wear the same size shoe. He’s not much shorter than I am. I get fussed at if I have to help him wash his wild and crazy hair in the shower because, “You can’t see me naked, Mom.”

These changes are inevitable.

This morning, after fussing to get up-get dressed-brush your teeth-why aren’t your teeth brushed?-get your socks and shoes on-let’s go-I said let’s go-come ON, I drove him to the path he takes to the school. I pulled over to the side of the road. Reaching over to open the door, he looked back at me.

“I hope you have a great day, bud.”

“Ok, mom. You, too.”

“I’ll see you this afternoon.”

He glanced quickly out the window, making sure nobody is looking, leaned in and kissed me on the cheek.

“I love you, Mom.”

“I love you, too, buddy.”

I’m aware that these days are numbered. The tales of my fourth grade tween are going to be tough – new and different. School, life, body changes, mood swings… they’re all things we’ll take day by day.

And if those days include a sly kiss on the cheek and a back rub to help him go to sleep at night, then I’ll take it.

Her Last First Day of Football Season

Her Last First Day of Football Season

Football season is here. The countdown has been on since January 6 when Auburn and Florida State faced off in an amazing final BCS National Championship Game before the new Playoff system goes into play. As the clock ticks down and the very first college kickoff is within reach, or even on the same calendar page, plans start being made. Tailgates are planned. Trips to games are scheduled. The excitement builds!

Both of my grandmothers were big football fans. My Mimi (my Dad’s mom) was an NFL gal. Of course, she watched Auburn play, but her Sunday afternoons after my grandfather died were spent watching the NFL. I remember her talking about Refrigerator Perry, Joe Montana, Dan Marino… all those guys who were household names were burned into my brain after hearing her wool suit and pantyhose in all seasons wearing self yell at them on television.

My Grannie, though, she was a college football girl. My Grandaddy much preferred golf and baseball, played as background noise to naps, card games and the heat of summer. But my Grannie? Well, she wanted to watch a hard hitting football game, preferably Auburn, Georgia or Georgia Tech, any day of the week. Those were her grandkids’ alma maters and she did everything she could to support them. Up to and including missing the evening news on Channel 13 to watch a game well past midnight.

I couldn’t help but think about her this weekend.

This time last year we were with her in the ICU, wondering if and when she would recover from the stroke she had suffered on the first Saturday night of football season. She died a few short weeks later.

When I took my walk through her house a few months ago, I only got a few things. I got all the deviled egg dishes I could find, a desk, a few photo albums and a few kitchen items. But the one thing I cherish that sits on my desk is something most people would have thrown into the trash.

It’s my reminder: She had big plans on that Saturday night.

Her Last First Football Saturday

In the emergency room, while she was still able to help us piece together a timeline of when she suffered the strokes, we learned that she did watch the Auburn game and was excited that we won. We know she started the other two games and took her medicine at 10pm. We know she was very mad when we told her that Clemson had beaten Georgia.

She was excited about the start of football season — excited enough to have my aunt write down when and where to watch the important games — and I’m thankful she got to see and enjoy some of it. Getting excited about the start of certain seasons — whether it’s football, NASCAR, deer hunting, golf or hockey — is important. Being able to forward to enjoyable activities is really what life should be about.

This piece of paper is a good reminder to me.

This paper reminds me that she was excited about her evening activities. It reminds me that she always thought about her children and grandchildren (and great grandchildren) and knew that we loved these teams alongside her.

It reminds me that the majority of her last pre-stroke hours were enjoyable for her — spent celebrating her last first day of football season.

This Week In Numbers: The Medical Mystery Tour

5 – number of days this week Henry or I have seen a doctor

6 – number of waiting rooms I’ve waited in since Monday morning. Add the one on Friday and you get 7.

13 – number of days I’ve now been dealing with a rash of unknown origin or diagnosis.

5 – number of different diagnoses for the rash on my body. It’s been shingles, staph, a bug bite, a fungus, contact dermatitis…

7 – number of shots Henry had to drain what looked like aliens out of an infected boil

365,397 – times I wanted to die on Wednesday

28,967 – times I wet my pants while vomiting on Wednesday

28,967 – times I didn’t care about said wetting of pants because of the 365,397 times I wanted to die

6 – number of hours spent at the ER

3 – number of sticks it took for the nurse at the ER to run an IV

2 – number of bags of fluid shoved in my veins in the ER

0 – sadly, the number of bags of vodka shoved in my veins in the ER

2 – number of complete blood panels run on me

4 – number of prescriptions I’ve filled and tried

3 – number of people in this house who are dying for this week to be over

1 – number of biopsies done on said rash by the bitchy yankee PA who made me feel like an absolute asshole for not having changed ANYthing I’ve done for the last 2 weeks. She couldn’t believe I hadn’t switched shampoo, detergent, or soap in TWO WHOLE WEEKS. What?

1 – also the number of HOLES I now have on my rash on my stomach

12 – number of Krispy Kreme doughnuts I bought on my way home from the last doctor’s appointment today


I’m fine. I’m alive. Henry’s fine. He’s alive. Nothing is horribly wrong with either of us. Just one of those weeks that started off at the tippy top of the hill and rooooooolllled down swiftly.

The Georgia Cash Crop Cobbler

The Georgia Cash Crop Cobbler

I like to play with cobblers during the summer. Obviously, peach cobbler is my favorite. It always has been, and always will be.

But this little creation really hits the spot.

It combines the comforts of my home – peaches and pecans – with the blueberry, one of Georgia’s newest (and biggest) cash crops.

The Georgia Cash Crop Cobbler


  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of peaches
  • ¾-1 cup of blueberries
  • ½-¾ cup of pecans pieces (I prefer roasted and salted)
  • Cinnamon Sugar
  • Extra pecan pieces for topping

Preheat oven to 350°.

Mix the peaches, blueberries and pecans. I like to mix them early in the day with about a teaspoon of sugar and then refrigerate them so the flavors all mix together.


In a separate bowl, mix the milk, sugar and flour with a whisk. I like mine to be smooth, not clumpy.


Spray the bottom of a 9×9 or equivalent casserole dish.

Melt the full stick of butter and pour half of it in the casserole.

On top of that, pour the fruit mixture and then pour the milk/flour/sugar mixture on top. I like to poke it around and make sure it reaches the bottom. You CAN mix it all together (fruit, milk/flour/sugar) beforehand. Either way works.

Then y’all are going to drizzle the remaining melted butter on top. Here’s where I sprinkle a touch of cinnamon sugar all over for a kick of flavor.

Pop it in the preheated oven and set the timer for 45 minutes.


That 45 minutes will give y’all time to sip on some Peach Sangria and unload the dishwasher. Once the timer dings, sprinkle a few more pecans on top, rotate 180°, resist the urge to get a spoon and dig in, and add 15 minutes to the clock.

Once the last timer dings, you’re set to go with your Georgia Cash Crop Cobbler. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or just some whipped cream and enjoy!



A Collector of People

“She was a collector of people.”

This phrase has come up more than once in the last few weeks, strangely. The first and most moving time was at my friend Julia’s mom’s memorial service. In her eulogy, Julia mentioned her mother was a people collector and quickly it was clear she was  one of the most loved and admired women I’ve ever (once) come in contact with. She held her collection close to her and they very obviously lifted her up as she lifted them up.

I’ve known people like this. For example, my Grannie was like this. She liked to have people around. Family, friends new and old, children of her friends, grandchildren of her friends, nieces, nephews, neighbors… her door was always open. When she died, people didn’t know what they would do without her friendship and love.

I think I’m one of these people.

I think I’m a people collector. If somebody asked me to describe my “circle of friends” I wouldn’t know where to start.

The collecting of my friends has spanned my entire life. I’ve always been one who could jump from one group to another, I think, and that’s served me well.

But sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all the people I’ve collected over the years. I want to know everything they’re doing and going through and help them through tough times. That’s hard to do, physically and emotionally. Facebook has made it easier, but you still only get glimpses.

I’m going to keep collecting those people. Friends from my childhood, high school, and college; the ones I inherited when I married; child loss sisters and brothers all over the world; my December’s Finest girls; blogging friends (too many circles to list); my cheese group (you know who you are); runner friends; people I feel like are my sisters and brothers; and honestly, those I’ve not yet met TO collect!

I only met Julia’s mom once, quickly at a brunch, but my friend Julia’s mother has shown me something through her untimely death.

One day we’re all going to die and it’s absolutely true that a life well-lived with love and grace is a life well-remembered. And if you’ve collected people on your way through that life, your life will be richer and so will theirs.


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